In the 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, two teams grappling to find their footing will clash in match no. 33. Punjab Kings (PBKS), currently stationed at seventh place, will lock horns with the eighth-ranked Mumbai Indians (MI) on April 18 (Thursday).

Both squads boast similar tallies on the points table, each securing two victories in six encounters. However, the Net Run Rate (NRR) stands as the differentiator between them. The team tasting defeat in this encounter will find themselves in the precarious position of needing to sweep victories in all subsequent matches to secure a playoff berth.

Top five player battles to watch out for in PBKS vs MI

1.Rohit Sharma vs Kagiso Rabada

Former MI skipper Rohit Sharma has been a standout performer, amassing the most runs for his side in the ongoing IPL 2024. Rohit showcased his prowess with a stellar century in the previous clash against CSK, albeit in a losing effort. Eager to sustain his momentum, Rohit will encounter the formidable Kagiso Rabada, a bowler who has frequently troubled him. Rabada boasts a notable record, dismissing Rohit 14 times in international cricket. In IPL encounters, Rabada has accounted for Rohit’s wicket twice in just 25 deliveries, while Rohit has managed 37 runs against him.

2.Ishan Kishan vs Arshdeep Singh

A captivating duel awaits between two emerging Indian talents. Ishan Kishan has displayed dazzling batting form, consistently scoring runs at a brisk pace. Once settled, Kishan possesses the ability to tilt the game in his team’s favor. However, his encounters with Arshdeep Singh have been less favorable. The left-arm seamer has dismissed Kishan thrice in a mere 12 deliveries in IPL contests, averaging just four balls per dismissal, while Kishan has mustered 25 runs against him.

3.Suryakumar Yadav vs Harshal Patel

Known for his explosive batting prowess, Suryakumar Yadav poses a formidable threat once he finds his rhythm. However, his encounters with Harshal Patel, among the current PBKS bowlers, have yielded relatively modest returns. Facing Patel, Yadav has faced 33 deliveries, accumulating 43 runs at a strike rate of 130.3, with one dismissal. Patel’s assortment of slower deliveries adds an additional layer of challenge for Yadav.

4.Sam Curran vs Jasprit Bumrah

Assuming leadership responsibilities in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, Sam Curran is anticipated to feature prominently in the PBKS batting lineup. However, he will confront the formidable Jasprit Bumrah, who has been in scintillating form, consistently claiming wickets. Curran’s encounters with Bumrah haven’t yielded favorable outcomes, with Bumrah dismissing him twice in just 12 deliveries in IPL contests, restricting Curran to 18 runS.

5.Jonny Bairstow vs Gerald Coetzee

Struggling to find form this season, Jonny Bairstow’s contributions have been scant, reflecting PBKS’s current predicament. Bairstow will be pitted against the ferocious MI speedster Gerald Coetzee, renowned for his pace and aggression. Handling Coetzee’s pace will undoubtedly pose a significant challenge for Bairstow, who, despite contending with the threat posed by Bumrah, must also navigate Coetzee’s menacing deliveries.

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